Ayurveda for the cyber age

Print edition : May 18, 2007

IF there is one product flowing from C-DAC that could arguably match the reach and popularity of its Indian language tools, it is the bold and ambitious attempt to capture digitally India's rich Ayurvedic heritage and package it for the cyber age.

It is only a few months since AyuSoft was made available but it has generated wide interest in academic and medical circles; and the CD-based version has seen a lot of takers among Indian `vaidyas' as well as lay users abroad while a number of corporates in the wellness business have installed the network version as an in-house research resource (https://ayusoft.cdac.in/).

AyuSoft is a Decision Support System comprising Ayurvedic Encyclopedia, Data Mining Tool, Constitution Assessment, Disease Diagnostic and Treatment and Person Information Management System. It caters to the needs of academics, students and medical practitioners. It is available as a single-user, CD-based tool as well as an intranet version for multiple users in an organisation - such as a hospital.

The software runs on Windows PCs (up to Windows XP). A Windows Vista-compatible version is under development. It needs about 2 GB of hard disk space to be installed.

The package includes individual modules like:

* Prakriti Vichaya (Constitution assessment) which includes three applications: dosha prakriti (physical level), maanas prakriti (mental) and dhatusaarataa (status of the dhatu or tissue)

* Anveshaka (data-mining tool) useful for students and researchers who might want to carry out analytical searches of classical data. The resources included are Charaka samhita, Sushrutra samhita, and Ashtangahridaya and so on.

* Aayur Vidnyaana, a multimedia knowledge base which includes classical compilations, digitalised Brihattrayee in Devanagiri script as well as video clips of Panchakarma and Upakarma treatments.

* Vaidyasanmitra, a case analysis and master data management tool that helps to create a maanusha vritta, or personal information management system, and vyaadhi nidaana and vyaadhi chikitsa, a diagnosis and treatment module.

AyuSoft blends searchable databases derived from ancient texts with the nitty-gritties of a modern Ayurveda-based practice - including patient records and the physician's professional database. It is not a substitute for a physician; but by amalgamating in an easily accessible way the rich heritage of Ayurveda, it strengthens the hands of practitioners and scholars alike.

C-DAC drew on the resources of Pune University's Department of Ayurveda and the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, Pune as well as Jnana Prabodini, a local non-governmental organisation based in the same city for the creation of the product.

"AyuSoft will foster quality research in clinical practice by enabling collaborative research amongst physicians, which is lacking currently," feels Vaidya Vilas Nanal, president, Nanal Foundation, who has closely monitored AyuSoft from its concept stage. "As one of the applications, it also has a disease-diagnostic system that is rigorously field-tested.

Apart from clinical treatment, this includes diet advice, both from permitted and prohibited categories, along with regimen/lifestyle advice. In my opinion, it is a tool every Ayurveda physician, student, and researcher should be proud to possess."

Anand Parthasarathy